Bulgaria’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union is a great responsibility but also provides significant opportunities for the country, the country’s leaders agreed at a January 9 meeting of the Consultative Council on National Security, President Roumen Radev said.
Radev called the four-hour meeting for the country’s leaders to discuss Bulgaria’s role and commitments regarding the development of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy in the context of the country’s holding of the EU Presidency in the first half of 2018.
He said that significant progress has been made towards the implementation of the EU’s global strategy in the field of security and defence.
Evidence of this was the creation of the permanent structured co-operation of the European defence fund and the launch of the coordinated annual defence review, according to Radev.
He said that the meeting had agreed on the responsibility and opportunity for Bulgaria, as chair of the Council of the EU, in effective management of the processes of building the common European defence.
The meeting also was in favour of the full integration of the Bulgarian armed forces, industry and science in the European processes of consolidation of the defence industry and science in Europe.
Last but not least was the opportunity to enhance the security and the European prospects of the Western Balkans, he said.
The meeting of the Consultative Council on National Security came amid concerns about the security situation within the country, after recent high-profile killings including of business person Petar Hristov on January 8 and of a tax inspector in December.
Hritsov, who had numerous business interests and was said to be close to coalition government majority partner parliamentary leader Tsvetan Tsvetanov, died after being hit several times in a shooting in a Sofia residential district.
No arrests have been made and police reportedly are following several lines of inquiry.
The same day, President Radev called a meeting with Interior Minister Valentin Radev and the Interior Ministry chief secretary Mladen Marinov to discuss the crime situation of recent weeks and the course of investigations into serious crimes in recent days.
According to a statement by President Radev’s office, the January 8 meeting discussed results of and weaknesses in searches by the Interior Ministry for wanted persons already subject to verdicts.
Eyebrows were raised recently when recently, a search involving large numbers of officers, dogs and a helicopter, looking for a murder suspect, proceeded for three days before the suspect’s body was found just 500m from his house.
According to the Presidency’s statement, Roumen Radev wished the Interior Ministry success in its duties, while drawing attention to the need to improve work in the fight against crime, which would guaranteed greater security for Bulgarian citizens.